Before you are able to deploy a production site, you need to have a clear understanding of the product and how it might be manufactured in mass production. An initial engineering phase is set to explore feasibility boundaries.
Based on a preliminary product design the main objectives of the engineering phase are to
  • validate the product for production compatibility
  • based on a product breakdown analysis create a stepwise production scheme (i.e. a joining tree)
  • detect clusters to create subparts for production scaleability and production depth definition
  • find a balance between field space needs, production depth, automatic/manual production, target volume and profitability
  • define deviation boundaries for product design to ensure production compatibility for the final product
  • identify the flexibility needed (throughput, possible variants, tool change times, integration of additional products)
  • estimate the cost (investment, rampup, running production) of each option
  • set the project schedule, harmonized with all associated departments
  • create production requirement specifications for procurement phase

Besides the drafting skills of your production planners and material flow simulation, communication to product development is key at this stage. Understanding the future product is your planning foundation. Understanding product design issues at this early stage tells you where your planning needs flexibility and where 3rd party decisions might be necessary.

At a later stage during this phase your customer’s / board’s approval becomes important.  For example decisions need to be taken on product and site layout options, production depth and amount of manual labor. A set of possible 3rd party suppliers has to be defined, preliminary target budget has to be approved etc. The decisions taken here have far reaching consequences and will define the success of the project (more on decisions here)

At the end of this phase everything has to be set for a successful procurement, eliminating as much risk as possible.
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